Nirmal and I cemented our friendship over a few drinks – quite a few drinks, actually – and this is just the dish you need for such a drinking session. It’s especially good with a cold glass of beer.
Etti Masala (South Indian-Style Prawns)
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 raw jumbo king prawns, in their shells
1 small onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
10 curry leaves (fresh are best if you can get them, but dried are fine), plus 6 extra leaves to garnish
1½ tbsp coconut oil
1½ tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp green peppercorns, to garnish
In a bowl, mix together the lime juice, turmeric, ground coriander, black pepper and a pinch of salt. Add the prawns and turn to coat thoroughly, then cover and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
Heat the coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Once melted, cook the onion with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes until soft and lightly caramelised. Add the garlic and 10 of the curry leaves and cook for 2 minutes until golden.
Add the marinated prawns and gently fry for 5 minutes until the mix is a little dry and the prawns get a nice colour on them.
Remove the prawn from the pan and keep warm. Quickly heat the rapeseed oil in the hot pan and fry the remaining curry leaves until crispy.
Serve the prawns hot, sprinkled with the green peppercorns and fried curry leaves.
Extracted from Gunpowder by Harneet Baweja, Devina Seth and Nirmal Save (Kyle Books, approx €29). Photograph by Peter Cassidy.